BOSTON (WHDH) – Four of Massachusetts’ seven mass vaccination sites will close by the end of June as the state pivots to a more targeted vaccine distribution strategy in an effort to get more than four million residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.
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During a news conference at the State House, Baker said the state will begin focusing its vaccination efforts on smaller scale and mobile clinics to reach particular communities and populations that have not yet signed up to get the vaccine, including the Commonwealth’s 20 most disproportionately impacted communities.
A total of 2.6 million Bay Staters have been fully vaccinated and Baker said the state is expected to hit 4.1 million fully vaccinated residents in the “next few weeks” — a goal that was set in December when the shots were first rolled out. More than 70 percent of adults have received at least one dose and more than 85,000 doses are being administered each day.
“This represents an incredible achievement. The people of Massachusetts are outperforming the rest of the country by leaps and bounds,” Baker said. “Now that we believe we’re going to hit the 4.1 million goal we started with over the course of the next few weeks, it’s time to adapt our vaccination effort to make sure we get to some of the harder-to-reach populations.
This next phase of the state’s vaccine rollout will include the following efforts, according to Baker:
- Providing all 22 regional collaboratives with doses to fully operate their programs.
- Doubling the state vaccine allocation for our 20 most disproportionately impacted communities.
- Working with the Mass Medical Society to increase access of vaccines with additional primary care providers by mid-May. This effort will require affirming complex storage and scheduling logistics to ensure all doses are put to good use.
- Expanding mobile vaccine clinics in our 20 most disproportionately impacted communities at senior centers, houses of worship and other community-based organizations.
- Working with current providers and community partners to offer new vaccine clinic opportunities.
Over 21,000 vaccine doses have been administered through mobile vaccination clinics in Boston, Chelsea, Brockton, Fall River, Springfield and New Bedford. Baker said the mobile clinics have been particularly effective in equity communities and to reach people of color. So far, 61 percent of vaccine recipients at these clinics have been people of color.
With more doses going to community-based providers, Baker said that mass vaccination sites at Gillette Stadium, the Danvers Doubletree hotel, the Hynes Convention Center, and the Natick Mall would close by the end of the June.
Baker added that the state will soon begin to accept walk-ins at select mass vaccination sites.
Baker noted that vaccination appointments are now widely available across the state, including at mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacies, community health centers, and regional collaboratives. He urged anyone who wants a shot to act immediately and book an appointment.
“You can protect yourself, your family, and get back to normal by getting vaccinated soon, today, tomorrow, this week, next week,” Baker said.
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In the coming weeks, Baker said the state is anticipating that the CDC may authorize vaccines for children ages 12-15.
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